Growing up, Christmas preparations could only begin after the magical tenth of December (my birthday). Lately, however, it seems I've begun preparing for Christmas earlier and earlier. More and more it seems that the world needs those candles shining in the window. More and more, whatever our faith or personal credo, we need to believe in the spirit of peace and goodwill.
It seems this year has been exceptionally difficult. The radio choir sings children's faces all aglow, but the dusty, blood-and-tear-stained children of Aleppo haunt me. The bandaged face of a young man whose only desire was to live in freedom followed me as I filled my shopping cart with gifts for my family.
Most of what I write is middle grade historical fiction. If I've learned anything from my research it's that the peaceful times we recall fondly were not really all that peaceful. While I was gleefully opening my Tiny Tears or Chatty Cathy, children in Vietnam were being born with birth defects from the endless war in their backyard. While we continue to sip our champagne, others are struggling to find clean water for their families. While many danced in squares, line and circles, others still labored in the fields.
I suppose this doesn't seem much like a holiday post. This December we are all exceptionally weary, maybe even afraid. Yet, I can't dismiss those candles in the window. That light in the darkness. That's the thing about hope...true hope continues to exist despite condition or circumstance. There is something exceptionally, extraordinarily beautiful in that.
Happy, happy holidays to each and every one of my readers! I hope a little light always shines in your heart!